The Barnes Foundation & People's Emergency Center Announce Artists Selected for Everyday Places Artist Partnerships
Five West Philadelphia–based artists to create site-specific works throughout neighborhood, engaging local businesses and community members
Philadelphia, PA, June 28, 2021—The Barnes Foundation and People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation (PECCDC), through their collaborative initiative Barnes West, have announced five West Philadelphia-based social-impact artists who have been selected to participate in Everyday Places Artist Partnerships: Keyonna Butler, Marshall James Kavanaugh, Jahwula Seapoe, Karen Smith, and Andrea Walls.
Barnes West conceived Everyday Places Artist Partnerships to provide West Philadelphia residents with spaces to engage with multidisciplinary artistic projects that offer inspiration and promote hope and healing. The selected artists will partner with neighborhood businesses and sites—including grocery stores, restaurants, laundromats, public parks, and community organizations—to build interactive, participatory projects that engage with the site and residents. The projects began rolling out this month and will continue through November.
Everyday Places Artist Partnerships include:
Jahwula Seapoe & Clara Muhammad Square and Imperial Caribbean & Seafood
(June 15 – November 15) Seapoe will partner with Clara Muhammad Square and Imperial Caribbean & Seafood to offer in-person yoga workshops that pair movement with creative writing. On the last Saturday of each month, Seapoe will also host workshops via Zoom. These offerings will invite participants to think about their own approach to self-care. Seapoe’s project is hybrid, virtual, and in-person, and the only artist project that will continue for the full six months.
Karen Smith & the Silk Tent
(June 15 – September 15) Smith, a member of Sistahs Laying Down Hands, will work with Philly Jawns and Tomorrow’s Girls to offer sustainable art-making workshops in partnership with the Silk Tent. Activities will include percussion, poetry, and crafts that speak to the theme of “Heartbeat & Healing: Public Heart in Public Spaces.” Community members interested in deepening their engagement will have opportunities to perform, present, or curate additional artistic work at future events.
Keyonna Butler & Kanvas Event Center
(July 1 – September 30) Butler will partner with Kanvas Event Center to host sustainable fashion workshops on upcycling old clothes. For these workshops, participants will bring clothes they no longer have use for to the center to learn skills like embroidery, hand sewing, and machine sewing to transform the clothes into new pieces of art. The resulting work will be exhibited as an art installation at Kanvas, after which participants in Butler’s workshops will take home their newly refurbished clothes.
Andrea Walls & the Center for Carceral Communities
(July 15 – October 15) Walls will partner with the Center for Carceral Communities to expand her ongoing project, the Museum of Black Joy, which may take the form of an exhibition, performance event, or virtual experience. Walls will guide community members who participate in the center’s programs through a collaborative process to create original works that will be exhibited in the museum. Media and materials will be determined by participants and may include dance, performance, writing, visual art, photography, and video. Walls’s photography of the process will also be included in the museum.
Marshall James Kavanaugh & La Pearl Beauty Emporium
(August 1 – October 31) Kavanaugh will set up typewriters at La Pearl Beauty Emporium and invite patrons and passersby to type responses to prompts or create original poetry. The resulting writings will be exhibited on long scrolls attached to the typewriters during a performance event and converted into community poetry zines.
Details about projects and locations are available at pec-cares.org/barneswest.
“Our work with the People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation on Barnes West and our neighborhood collaborations through the Everyday Places Artist Partnerships builds on the Barnes’s historical ties to West Philadelphia,” says Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation. “West Philadelphia is the neighborhood where Dr. Barnes first introduced his method of art appreciation as a vehicle for critical thinking and civic engagement to his integrated factory workforce. He invested in the education of his employees by dedicating compensated time during their workday to introduce masterworks from his collection, and he firmly believed that access to art was critical to personal development and the enrichment of community. This is a belief we share to this day and live through our work with Barnes West and all our community partners.”
“Through the Everyday Places Artist Partnerships, we want to highlight the intersection of art and community and create opportunities for residents to drive art made and experienced right where they live,” says Barbara Wong, Barnes Director of Community Engagement. “West Philadelphia artists will be creating new work in their own community—for and with their neighbors—to help generate hope and healing. We were incredibly impressed by the caliber of artists and proposals we received, which reflect the deep dedication that so many artists have to West Philadelphia neighborhoods. We believe that art holds the power to improve lives by promoting understanding and dialogue about important social issues. The selected artists are true drivers of change within the community who create work that invites active dialogue and audience participation. We are excited to see how they will bring ‘everyday places’ in West Philadelphia to life in new ways and infuse art and inspiration into residents’ daily lives.”
“Everyday places like parks, community centers, shops, and restaurants foster community and provide essential resources in daily life,” says James Wright, Director of Community, Economic, and Real Estate Development at PECCDC. “They offer rich opportunities to host meaningful artistic experiences and deepen community connections as we move from pandemic to recovery. Together with our partners at the Barnes, we look forward to seeing how the artists and partner sites work together to create opportunities for people to exchange ideas, build understanding, have fun, and strengthen relationships.”
The artists were selected by the Barnes West leadership team and participating neighborhood sites. Each artist will receive a stipend and an Art for All Community Pass, which provides one year of unlimited admission to the Barnes for up to four people.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jahwula Seapoe: Yoga has been a part of singer Jahwula Seapoe’s life since 2014. In 2020, she started taking her practice more seriously, shifting her creativity from the performance stage to the yoga mat. After months of consistent practice, she saw that yoga taught her to live with intention and bask in every moment. Her yoga philosophy is rooted in practice, collaboration, and community. In her classes, she loves to combine practical sequencing, complementary sounds, and a dose of inspiration.
Karen Smith: Smith is a percussionist, playwright, poet, teaching artist, and curator. She has facilitated percussion workshops across the tristate area and beyond with a focus on finding the rhythms within player and instrument. Her collaborative recording project Spiritual Atmosferic Cleansing was released in February 2021. “Possible is possible” is her daily mantra.
Keyonna Butler: Butler is a costume designer and visual artist. Using recycled fabrics and a variety of paints and materials, she creates wearable art pieces that express feelings of love and equality. She designed costumes for MinorityLand (Power Street Theatre, 2019), The Medusa Play (Ursinus College, 2019), and The Wiz (Theatre in the X, 2018).
Andrea Walls: Walls is an interdisciplinary artist informed and inspired by the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. In addition to the Museum of Black Joy, she is the creator and curator of the D’Archive and author of the poetry chapbook Ultraviolet Catastrophe and the interactive digital collection The Black Body Curve. Her writing, scholarship, and visual art have been supported by the Leeway Foundation, Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, Hedgebrook, the Colored Girls Museum, Drexel Writers Room, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Women’s Mobile Museum, and Fab Youth Philly.
Marshall James Kavanaugh: Kavanaugh is a poet whose work attempts to document the creative activism of his generation. From 2017 to 2019, he co-organized Poets for Peace, a series of readings across the country. This led to the publication of two Poets for Peace zines, which provided mutual aid in response to nationwide protests against police brutality. Kavanaugh has also published two collections of short stories, several chapbooks of travel fiction, and two collections of haikus.
ABOUT BARNES WEST
Barnes West has been serving West Philadelphia with artistic programming and opportunities since 2018. Barnes West is designed to enrich lives and communities through shared art experiences and access. The Barnes Foundation and the Peoples Emergency Center CDC jointly present multifaceted arts programming—building upon PECCDC’s LoLa 38 creative placemaking initiative and the Barnes’s community engagement work to connect art in service to communities where they are. This collaboration brings West Philadelphia residents, business owners, and artists together in celebrating culture, creativity, and community voice—highlighting lifelong appreciation of, and participation in, the arts and cultural life of our city.
Barnes West is supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
Community engagement programs are made possible, in part, by generous support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the William Penn Foundation.
ABOUT THE BARNES FOUNDATION
The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies, and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, and medieval art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.
The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” A visionary collector and pioneering educator, Dr. Barnes was also a fierce advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, women, and the economically marginalized. Committed to racial equality and social justice, he established a scholarship program to support young Black artists, writers, and musicians who wanted to further their education. Dr. Barnes was deeply interested in African American culture and became actively involved in the Harlem Renaissance, during which he collaborated with philosopher Alain Locke and Charles S. Johnson, the scholar and activist, to promote awareness of the artistic value of African art.
Since moving to Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes Foundation has expanded its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways; investing in original scholarship relating to its collection; and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its program. Hours and ticket prices are listed on our website.
ABOUT THE PEOPLE’S EMERGENCY CENTER
People’s Emergency Center (PEC) is located in West Philadelphia. PEC’s mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods, and drive change. For families, children, and youth experiencing homelessness, PEC offers more than 235 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, and life skills and technology classes. PEC Community Development Corporation (PECCDC) programs respond to community needs and build on neighborhood assets to help bridge the digital divide, expand mixed-income housing opportunities, stimulate economic growth, create wealth, and improve the quality of life for all West Philadelphia residents. Visit pec-cares.org/lola38.
PECCDC’s LoLa 38 creative placemaking initiative has served to activate transitional spaces and celebrate the living history of the neighborhoods surrounding Lower Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia since 2016.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications, The Barnes Foundation
Online press office: barnesfoundation.org/press
Trish Downey, Director, Communications, People’s Emergency Center (PEC)